National Assembly Committee Visit Shows Calabar/Itu/Ikot Ekpene Road Contract Is A Lie!

Commuters stuck on one bad portion of the road.

While several commuters using the Calabar/Itu/Ikot Ekpene road, linking Cross River/Akwa Ibom states to large parts of Nigeria, continue to endure torrid times on this stretch of road, unknown to them, information to the effect that the purported award of contract to Julius Berger for the rehabilitation of the road last year is a half truth, can reveal.

A six-man House of Reps committee headed by Francis Uduyok, representing Ikot Abasi Federal Constituency, Akwa Ibom State, accompanied by a team from Julius Berger, the project contractors, led by its Regional Manager (South and East), Juergen Fischer, discovered that the contract for the rehabilitation of the 87km road which is supposed to start from Calabar-Itu road Junction in Ikot Ekpene and terminate at Odukpani Junction, was haphazardly and unprofessionally awarded.

It was discovered that out of the proposed 87km, only 21.9km was awarded for construction at a whooping sum of 54 billion, with a large chunk of the 65.1km road not awarded. For example, Ikot Ekpene to Ididep which is 36.1Km was not awarded, while the portion from Ididep to Ayadehe bridge, a distance of only 12.2km was awarded. The 29km stretch of the road from Ayadehe bridge to the Odukpani Power Plant in Cross River State, was also not awarded, while the remaining portion, from the Power Plant to Odukpani Junction, totalling 9.7km, was awarded.

The contract, awarded on April 24, 2018, was supposed to last for 30 months but non-funding resulted in the suspension of the job in May 2019 by Julius Berger Plc. The project contractors, Julius Berger say they received only N7.4 billion out of the N54.1billion earmarked for the project, with about 60% of the N7.4 billion withheld for compensation purposes leaving them with a paltry N3.4 billion to execute the project, which was grossly inadequate. In other words, only less than 13% contract works and payment has been fulfilled.

Following constant complaints and hardship faced by users of the Calabar – Odukpani – Itu – Ikot Ekpene federal highway, the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee on Works and Abandoned Projects, on Saturday 26th October 2019 had to embark on a fact-finding mission hoping to get to the root of this matter.

Additional information: M. Matthew.

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